One interesting artefact of flying out with a grotty cold - I suspect I slept through even more of the flight than usual although I still managed to take in X-Files 2 (which really should have been a 2-part episode and/or straight-to-DVD - the toning down of the fantastic elements to mainly talking about Mulder's obsessions left it all a bit dull) and Hellboy 2 (pretty fun in a brains-at-the-door sort of way).
The stopover at Bahrain wasn't too bad at all, despite my concerns about the relatively short time between connecting flights - it broke up the journey nicely (daresay I might have felt differently if the London-Bahrain leg had been delayed ;-)).
Had my first encounter with the machine readable passport system at KLIA. Several years on, the autogate user interface clearly still needs amending to include a line saying "Pull your wheelie bag in so the rear gate can shut, dumbass!" - some idiot woman kept inserting and re-inserting her passport wondering why nothing was happening. Wish I was sure enough of my Malay to have said something (OK, maybe not the "dumbass" part)!
Arrived in KL at 9.00AM local time so I've already had a day's worth of those "I'm sure that flyover/mall/landslide etc is new" moments. Other things I've noted that seem to have changed since I was here last:
- people (or writers at least) seem a lot bolder. The blurb from a random local book I picked up at Borders talked about "national suicide" if Abdullah Badawi stays in power beyond 2010. A joke I heard: there's been no impact from the credit crunch on the economy. It's already been in recession for 2 years. Looks like this PM's even less popular than Gordon these days! s/Abdullah Badawi/Gordon Brown/
- Tech toys don't seem so cheap any more. Not looked at too many places yet though but suspect currency issues. It might be a bit academic anyway as my main aim was to get myself a replacement Zen Vision W but it (and all the Creative hard disk-based players appear to have been discontinued). So, any nominations for non-iPod options (it's either that or get a 2nd hand one off eBay when I get back to London) in case scouring KL and Singapore malls for old stock fails?
Things which haven't changed:
- Good, cheap food. Even with Sterling at a relatively low point against the Ringgit, the idea of being able to get a pretty sizeable meal at the food court of one of the posher malls for less than £2 boggles the mind. Maybe I've just spent too much time in London and, specifically, Canary Wharf (we were recently surprised to discover a Wetherspoons in the area but my colleague who's been over from the US was stunned that it was possible to get not one, but two pints for a fiver!).
- The dogs seemed to recognise me. Tigger especially was running up towards Dad, spotted me, halted, tilted her head and nearly bowled me over.
Have also noticed parents' "broadband" connection seems rather slow and appears to block outbound SMTP. Must investigate further (or maybe I've been spoiled by Be's service).
Ah well, another relaxed day ahead, I hope, before I have to go and try to get my stolen Identity Card replaced...